Processing

Jenny said it in session yesterday and I think it’s a good way to describe what I’ve been doing the past day or so. Even as I’m here living it, it’s hard for me to understand what is going on in my life and why. I certainly don’t have clarity on that yet but I feel like maybe I will.

The first thing Jenny and I talked about was my eating. I attempted to distract her first but she knows how to cut through my crap. I honestly kind of surprised myself by not holding back. I said what it is and left it all out there or her to make sense of it. The verdict isn’t what I want to hear. She’s worried for me. We talked pretty extensively about what road I’m headed down. She thinks I’ll end up dead if it doesn’t change (I don’t believe this of course).

“Hospitalization is the next step.” That killed me. I know I miss Forest View at times and it definitely was a powerful and overall good experience, I just can’t go back. I am FULL of excuses but to spare you all of them the main reasons why not now include money, timing with school, and hopelessness about recovery. She isn’t going to force me in this second (thank God!); however, she does have the authority to breach confidentiality if needed so I can be safe. I hate that she even has to mention it. I probably am in denial, but I don’t feel “that bad” yet. Sure I’m eating about the same as last summer but I was way thinner then and had time for treatment. I’ve made it my goal to do just enough to stay out of the hospital the next four weeks while I have school.

Another statement Jenny made was how it usually takes more than one go at treatment to fully recover. It’s hard enough thinking I wasted my parents’ money and time and everything to get help once. The reality of having to do this all over again is scary and frustrating, She didn’t explicitly say it, but it sounds like no matter what I will be in treatment again. I didn’t really know what to do with that until I came home and just cried.

My homework for this week is to try and find out what block is keeping me from trying to recover now. I’ll sit down or a meal and get ready to try only to give up right away. I have no motivation to work hard or do this for myself. It’s more effort to choose recovery then this disorder. I used to push past the thoughts during those solid few months and now that’s impossible. I hope I can search and find the answer. A teeny tiny wants me to get better and that’s all it takes.

Kim and I had lunch today at her house. I had texted her earlier saying how she wasn’t going to be a fan of my lunch (big mistake apparently) so she decided to “surprise” me with a sub. I so badly wanted to run far, far away, but by the time she gave me the sub we were at her house and I couldn’t really leave. I wanted to throw it away except for whatever reeason the guilt in doing that after someone buys food “just for me” is far worse than what I would experience in just eating it. Plus if I threw it away I have no doubt Kim would resort to extreme measures and buy an Ensure or something like that. I felt horrible after eating half the sub. My stomach hurt so badly and I had guilt and I could feel the fat growing on me. I told Kim all of this which just made her say how I wouldn’t feel so bad if I was eating better. She was right. As far as eating goes, the rest of our time together didn’t involve any more and we got to talk about some things.

I shared basically everything Jenny and I talked about in therapy. God was it hard. I hate that I have to worry her and burden her. I hate the look on her face when I showed her my list of safe, unsafe, and scary foods. As much as that part of her being supportive in my recovery/relapse/whatever’s going on sucks, I am forever thankful for Kim. I get to have someone I can be honest with and who can give me advice and prayers. I got to process and talk through more feelings and thoughts therapy stirred up. We talked about my parents and how the pressure they put on me to not need treatment anymore is so guilt-inducing. I also am so incredibly proud of her own progress against Ed. I see such a difference compared to when I first found out about her ED. That connection we have because of these terrible diseases is something I treasure and thank God for. Someday I hope we can have recovery instead of active disorder as a common thread.

I can’t tell you how I stand right now. I see what I should be doing and what others want of me and what they think I deserve but my brain is just messed up. All I know is I absolutely cannot jeopardize school or let my parents down or give up on other commitments right now. It’s a lot and I don’t have a plan I’m just going to survive the best I can.

This was all written really late last night and then I fell asleep before posting. My eating was better-ish today but then guilt hit me so hard and I couldn’t stop myself from using behaviors and going on bad websites and other self-destructive things. I’m not feeling too optimistic about waking up tomorrow. I’m really worn out and sick of all of these things. I want a break from my thoughts too.

Anorexia is…

Doctors visits. The look of fear on my parent’s faces. Disappointing people. Lies, lies, and more lies. Fainting. Not being able to concentrate more than a few minutes. Being cold, even in 90+ degrees. Exhaustion. Hunger that creates such a deep pain it’s hard to describe. Calorie counting. Having to wear leggings under jeans so they still fit. Putting on a fake smile. Heart palpitations. Wasting my parents money on all of my medical expenses. Eating only the same few foods. Hiding ED behaviors from others as much as possible. Relapse. Having the number on the scale determine how much I hate myself that day. Nightmares of growing fatter. Not even knowing what my favorite food is anymore. Feeling bad for lying to everyone but not being able to eat what I should. Crying over meals. Crying at the scale. Crying over what faces me in the mirror. Crying over how much I hate myself. Crying over everything. Therapy all the time. Anxiety. Feeling absolutely worthless. Contemplating suicide. Blood draws. Feeling like a burden constantly. Isolating. Barely surviving church dinners. Exercising at any cost. Constant food/calorie/weight thoughts. Labeled as “the anorexic.” Growing apart from God. Momentary fear of seriously damaging my body. Terrible low moods. Looks of disgust from my brother as I struggle with a meal. Failing at recovery. Hair loss. Wanting to go back to other bad behaviors. Uttering the words “I’m fine” when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Being told I have an exercise addiction. “You look healthy now” being the most triggering four words possible. Feeling overwhelmed. Having to rest after walking up a flight of stairs. Avoiding all social events. Not being the best youth leader I could be. Admitting that I’m sick out loud being one of the hardest things. Self-doubt. Numbness from sitting more than five minutes. Losing friendships. Being told I am killing myself. Sneaking to use behaviors. Dreams of exercise and weight loss. Looking dead and feeling worse. Depression. Feeling the fat forming on my body. No confidence in anything. Perfectionism. Fear of everything. Hurting people. Putting the ED before anything else. Not being able to “just eat.” Having no idea what my body actually looks like. Being misunderstood. Losing hope. Insomnia. Feeling unworthy of God’s love. Avoiding hugs for fear that someone will freak out over the bones. Realizing I have no control anymore. Feeling numb emotionally. Wishing I could just die from this. Letting ED thoughts take over times that are meant to be carefree and fun. Refeeding syndrome being like a punishment when I attempt recovery. Seeing the pain and worry in other’s eyes when I tell them the truth about restriction. Having mom and dad beg, cry, and yell at me to eat something. Feeling like a lost cause. A slow suicide. ED thoughts taunting me. Wanting to do better so badly but not being strong enough. Being alone. Having therapy sessions end with “I’m worried about you.” Anxiety in grocery stores. Throwing away food. Staring into the mirror for hours a day. Something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Reading statistics and physical side effects and thinking “not me.” Being filled with shame and guilt for too many reasons. Lectures from health professionals. Feeling like I’m getting nowhere. Breaking down only behind closed doors. Meal plans. Having no focus for school anymore. Not allowing myself to ask for help. Going right back to ED behaviors when it gets stressful. Being threatened with Ensures. Asking God to just take me. Low blood sugar. Wondering why. Ruining family dinners. Never truly enjoying myself. Taking two steps forward and then ten steps back. Hiding from the truth. Body checking. Being completely absorbed by the ED. Losing all trust from everyone. Asking about the food that will be somewhere before ever agreeing to go. Breaking down after being forced to eat a hard meal. Inability to even function. Not knowing what normal eating is anymore. Becoming a shell of who I once was.


If there’s anything I’ve learned the last few weeks during this relapse, it’s that I absolutely hate anorexia. I am going to come back and work ten times harder in recovery because I want to live. I am DONE with this disease.

Late night update

So it’s 11:36 and I can’t sleep, so I suppose it’s a good time for the update I’ve been avoiding.

This week has been hell. I haven’t had this bad of a week ED wise since about three weeks post FV when I had a little slip up. This slip up, well it isn’t so little. Without going into triggering and unnecessary details, I will try to explain how I’ve been. It’s hard to pinpoint a time when I started slipping. It came slowly at first but then I just plunged right back into Ed. He was waiting for me with open arms and I ran to him. I have exercised more than I should, not eaten enough, and used some behaviors and lies so that my family doesn’t know at all. I halfway feel guilty about that but Ed is whispering how wonderful I’m doing. The one way I do see that maybe this is wrong is with how absolutely miserable I am feeling. I have no energy, high depressive thoughts, and no personality. I sat there almost in tears on Wednesday at the church and I never ever am not smiling there.

To say that I’ve been stressed lately is a HUGE understatement. Things on my mind include having to apply to colleges and worry about if I got in even though I won’t know for 2-4 weeks at least, two of my close friends going into a psychiatric hospital in the past two weeks (I’m glad they’re safe but I still worry about them both), having some youth situations this week involving eating and if I will negatively impact the girls with my eating, tests/a lab practical/midterm in my classes, scheduling for my final semester at CC, telling the other girls eventually, and writing a philosophy paper that I didn’t start until today. It doesn’t help that my anxiety tends make every worry ten times worse. Also, since the Ed stuff has worsened I also have all of those things constantly on my mind. This has made it harder to focus at all.

The only person who knows of my struggles right now other than Jenny (she doesn’t know THAT much either…) is Kim. I haven’t even spoken to her since Sunday, but at that point she thought I needed to tell my mom if it didn’t stop this week. Their family is coming over tomorrow night for dinner so I highly doubt she’ll ask there, but I know the conversation is coming. I don’t know what to tell her. I can be honest and probably freak her out and have her tell my parents if I don’t. I’m so scared of that. I don’t want to upset her or burden her with that kind of information. Also, there’s Ed screaming to shut up and keep this to myself. No option looks good right now.

I see both Paul and Jenny Tuesday. Again, I have no clue whether to be honest or not. I always always have been in therapy prior to this. I feel no need to lie when they’re trying to help me. This is different though. If I don’t tell them I can continue like this. I can take control for a while. At the same time, I know my parents will realize eventually. That eventually is realistically only a week or two away at the rate I’m going.

I’m so confused. I want to recover, but that is so low on my priority list right now. I have so much going on and Ed is easier. It’s just like last year. I gave in to Ed then because I felt out of control and I feel that way now too. This isn’t good.

So after all those jumbled thoughts I am going to spend some time in prayer tonight. I need to get grounded again. I also need some sleep after that. I know God is with me, even as I’ve been straying away from Him this week. He will work through me still. I know it. I need His guidance now.

Taking care of myself

This isn’t something I am good at, not at all.

Even before the eating disorder, I have never really liked myself or felt any reason to be nice to myself. It just didn’t make sense Why would I deserve good things if I wasn’t a good person?

Today, my view of myself really isn’t much better, however, I am trying my best to not do such harmful things. This goes way beyond eating right and not overexercising. I have to work hard to stop any negative thoughts because thinking this way takes me further into the black hole of mental illness that I am so desperately trying to climb out of.

It isn’t an easy task. At this moment, I honestly don’t want to do any good for myself or my body, so I’m listing some reminders of why I’m not as terrible as the voices are telling me:

  • I am a youth leader. The girls love me and I am helping them by being there.
  • I am good in school. I’m not perfect but I am good.
  • My friends tell me I have a big heart and that I am supportive. They wouldn’t lie to me.
  • Jenny says I am making progress. This is an amazing thing. I have worked too hard not to be happy with progress.
  • I have gained weight but this has brought me nothing but more happiness and light in my eyes.

I think I’m going to write out this list and add more to it so I can have it to look back on. I have to fill my mind with these positive truths and get rid of the evil lies Ed and the negative voices try to get me to believe.

What will you gain when you lose?

So many advertisements, celebrities, etc claim that simply by losing weight you will acquire confidence, beauty, attention, power, and more. While there may be a few “lucky” ones who are able to lose weight the healthy way and do gain those things, it isn’t always the case.

I was one of those who didn’t end up so lucky. Like millions of others around the world, I developed an eating disorder. What you will gain from these diseases is nothing like what everyone wants you to believe about weight loss.

Your confidence will cease to exist. You will grow to hate your body and yourself. You won’t feel worthy of food or love or anything good at all. You will get so good at brushing off compliments that you won’t have to even think about it. Every chance you get you will tear yourself down even more.

You definitely will get beautiful, if you consider dull and thinning hair, cracked nails, rotting teeth, huge dark circles under your eyes, fine hair all over your body, dry skin, and jutting bones pretty.

For those people who wanted more attention from weight loss, an eating disorder will help you get it. As you slowly waste away, you will grow accustomed to the worried looks of friends and family. Soon, all that will be on other’s minds is your eating habits and weight. All the loose clothing and excuses in the world won’t stop them from commenting.

At first, there is an illusion of gaining power a control through the eating disorder. You feel strong for denying hunger and exercising more than your body is meant to handle. Every time you listen to the eating disorder instead of your voice, the feeling grows stronger until eventually you don’t have any control at all.

A restrictive eating disorder may cause you to lose weight as you intended, but it will do so much more harm than good. Your body, mind, relationships, and future will suffer. Each day will be hell.

You will have to lie to anyone close to you. You will stay up late at night thinking of food and how to avoid it. You will become extremely isolated. You will always be cold no matter how warm it is. Every time you get up you will have to fight passing out. Sitting in a chair for more than five minutes will become impossible unless you don’t mind having your legs go to sleep. You will become extremely weak and will still force yourself to exercise. Concentrating on anything other than your eating disorder won’t happen, partly because the ED voice won’t let you and partly from malnutrition. You will get chest pains and wonder how much longer you can do this without your heart giving out. Depression and anxiety will be so high you might not care anyways.

Please, don’t let any internal or external pressure push you into an eating disorder. You are beyond incredible just the way you are. If you feel like yourself or someone you know is showing signs of an eating disorder, get help as soon as possible. It is so important to fight against the disordered thoughts and behaviors early instead of getting deeper into it.

Some websites with information on eating disorders and their treatment:

Ed is not backing down

Ed thoughts have consumed me today. 

I had to restrict for breakfast even though that’s usually fine for me.

I accidentally on purpose followed my friend after my lecture so then I had to walk way around the school in order to get where I wanted to go.

I restricted heavily (this is looking like last fall now) for lunch.

Snacks? Ed would never let me snack.

I have been on the verge of tears because all I can think about is how disgusting I am.

Dinner tonight at church is giving me huge anxiety and I almost want to fake sick to get out of it.

Ed turned a compliment of how much better I look into how much fatter I am.

I can’t wait to get home because I know Ed will make me lie to my parents and talk about how wonderful today was.

I haven’t been able to focus on schoolwork at all today because Ed won’t let my thoughts be about anything but calories and weight and everything else.

I need to take back my thoughts but I honestly don’t know how right now. I feel trapped. I am a puppet. A lot of me is fine with this but a small part knows that this is bad. I feel like I’m spiraling again. I don’t know what to do because even as I have worked hard in PHP and still am working everyday it’s so easy for all pro-recovery thoughts to be pushed aside. This time around I actually feel out of control because I’ve learned more of what it looks like when I am in control and not Ed. I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to be doing this in ten or fifteen or thirty years. Things need to change.

Potluck

Tonight was the annual Labor Day potluck at Vacation Lane. It’s the whole bring your own meat and a dish to pass deal where dishes including cheesy potatoes, Kitty’s famous pineapple upside down cake, taco salad, baked beans, and lots of dessert. Occasionally someone might choose to be “healthy” and have fruit or veggies.

Since the ED started, potlucks have not been my friend. In the past year alone I’ve been forced to go to no less than ten. It’s been rough during previous ones. Mostly, I’ve followed Ed and tried to get away with as little food as possible. I never know quite what to expect and that really causes my anxiety to go up insanely.

So, as you could probably guess, I wasn’t looking forward to tonight’s potluck one bit. It’s all I could think of since I woke up this morning. I tried my best to make a plan since I could guess what might be there. Overall I handled it okay. I wouldn’t give myself tons of credit with being recovery oriented but I could have been worse too. To break it down for you:

Good (pro-recovery)
– brought down carrots so I had a veggie there
– planned ahead what I would get to try and get minimums
– ate about 90% of what I put on my plate

Bad (Ed voice)
– threw away steak and then lied to my parents about it
– didn’t eat enough grain
– freaked out and water loaded some before meal

I definitely have improved as far as being able to handle potlucks. Its still a huge struggle to fight Ed but I survived. I will have even more experience next time around. I will be able to fight more and have more victories. While today wasn’t a complete win for recovery it also wasn’t a loss to Ed. I am pretty happy with myself.